What Is It?
Dental erosion, also known as acid erosion, is a type of tooth wear that occurs when your tooth enamel is attacked by acids that break it down. Tooth enamel is the thin outer covering of your teeth that helps to protect them from daily wear and tear. It also insulates your teeth from extreme temperatures and chemicals. It’s the hardest tissue in the human body, but even it can’t withstand too much acid.
Dental erosion is the most common chronic disease in children between the ages of 5–17, but many people are still uneducated about how much damage it can cause, and what you can do to prevent it.
What Causes It?
The most common cause of dental erosion comes from consuming acidic foods and drinks. In general, foods and drinks with a ph level below 5.0–5.7 have been known to trigger erosion. The worst culprits are soft drinks, energy drinks, certain alcohols, fruit juices and carbonated drinks. Besides foods and drinks, your teeth can get exposed to erosive acids from swimming in chlorine, regurgitation and throwing up.
When your enamel erodes, your teeth become much more susceptible to cavities and/or decay. When tooth decay enters the hard enamel, it can reach the center of your tooth and cause a number of issues.
How Can I Prevent It?
Your enamel has no cells, which means if it chips or cracks– it can’t regenerate itself. This makes it even more important that you take the proper steps to prevent it. There are lots of ways you can keep yourself safe from the onset of dental erosion.
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that helps to prevent cavities by making the enamel on your teeth stronger, and more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends getting fluoride treatments from your dentist. In addition, drink tap water and use an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste.
Limit Acidic Food Intake
Limit your intake of extremely high acidic foods and drinks from your diet, including sodas, lemons, and other citrus fruits and juices. Rinse your mouth with water immediately after eating or drinking anything acidic.
Don’t Brush After Eating/Drinking Anything Acidic
If you do eat or drink something high in acidic content, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. You run the risk of damaging the enamel on your pearly whites if you fail to wait.
Look For Signs
Tooth sensitivity, discoloration, cracks or chips, and cupping (indentations on your teeth)– are all signs of dental erosion. If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment right away. We want to make sure we help you identify the culprit and see if we can stop the problem from spreading.
Use A Straw
Use a straw when you drink acidic drinks. The straw pushes the liquid to the back of your mouth, avoiding your teeth.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Saliva helps strengthen your teeth with important minerals, and chewing sugar-free gum between meals helps to boost saliva production up to 10 times it’s normal flow.
Make An Appointment
The final and most important thing you can do to prevent dental erosion, is to visit us on a regular basis for bi-annual cleanings and polishings. We can help identify any erosion or other dental problems, and make sure your teeth are clean and healthy. If it’s been over 6 months since you’ve been in to see us, make your appointment today!
At the Lafayette Dentist office of John C. Theriot, DDS and Associates, we love caring for your smile. In fact, our staff has earned a reputation for providing a warm, comfortable, and relaxing experience to our guests. Our goal is to provide you the best dental care in Lafayette.